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Allen headlines Peoria's win over Salt River

October 20, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Scouts consider Austin Allen one of the better offensive prospects among Minor League catchers, and he gave a glimpse of why on Saturday afternoon. Allen's two-run double keyed a five-run fifth inning and spurred the Peoria Javelinas to a 6-5 victory over the Salt River Rafters.Allen turned

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Scouts consider Austin Allen one of the better offensive prospects among Minor League catchers, and he gave a glimpse of why on Saturday afternoon. Allen's two-run double keyed a five-run fifth inning and spurred the Peoria Javelinas to a 6-5 victory over the Salt River Rafters.
Allen turned around a 93-mph fastball from right-hander Ryan Castellani (Rockies), pulling it to right field with an exit velocity of 106.9 mph, as measured by Statcast™. Allen also had the hardest-hit ball of the game, a sixth-inning lineout to center clocked at 112.5 mph off his bat.
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2018 Arizona Fall League rosters
A Padres fourth-round pick out of Florida Tech in 2015, Allen batted .290/.351/.506 in Double-A this year and ranked among the Texas League leaders in slugging (second), total bases (228, second), extra-base hits (53, third) and homers (22, fifth). He has gone 5-for-18 (.278) with a pair of doubles in five games with the Javelinas.
"I'm coming to the field every day and just sticking to my approach, having a plan whenever I go up there," the Padres No. 25 prospect said. "I feel like I'm seeing the ball pretty well and I'm just trying to put good swings on it."
From an offensive standpoint, Allen said he's trying to maintain his plate discipline while driving the ball to all fields in the AFL. More importantly, he's working on improving his receiving, blocking and throwing. Ultimately, how much progress he makes behind the plate will determine how much he plays in the big leagues.
Coming out of college, most teams considered Allen a slugger first and a catcher a distant second. He's bigger than many catchers at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, but he has worked diligently to quicken his feet and soften his hands. He posted the best defensive numbers of his career this year, throwing out 36 percent of basestealers while committing just three passed balls in 91 games while handling a talented San Antonio staff.
Allen said he wants to become a complete player and while he knows there's still work to be done, he's pleased with the progress he has made since turning pro.
"I'm seeing how other catchers work and incorporating their stuff with me, and every offseason just working as hard as I possibly can to come back in better shape, better flexibility, mobility," he said. "I'm just trying to get better every single time that I come back in order to perform and help my team win any way I can."
Besides Allen, shortstop Lucius Fox (Rays) and second baseman Keston Hiura (Brewers) also stood out offensively for the Javelinas. Fox reached base three time to improve his on-base percentage to .512 (fifth in the AFL), scored his league-high 10th and 11 runs and stole his sixth base (third in league). Hiura went 2-for-4 and drove in his Fall League-best 17th run.
With the victory, Peoria improved to 7-3, the best record in the league, and stretched its lead to two games over the Surprise Saguaros in the West Division. Salt River dropped to 5-5 and a game behind the first-place Scottsdale Scorpions in the East.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.